Texas took another step in the right direction on Wednesday night by beating Cal in the Holiday Bowl 21-10. After a 5-7 season last year, it seemed as though the only direction the Longhorns could go was up.
Will they continue their ascent next year and reach a BCS bowl?
Texas is a young team this year, and the offensive line has not been the greatest unit in the world, so another year should definitely help in that regard. But that doesn’t solve the quarterback conundrum.
David Ash got the start in the bowl game despite Case McCoy playing decently in the final two games of the season. He looked completely lost and couldn’t get anything going for the offense.
Longhorn fans may not want to hear it, but Mack Brown has only been successful as a head coach when he’s had a great quarterback. Major Applewhite, Chris Simms, Vince Young and Colt McCoy were all solid players, and while Ash is just a freshman, he has shown nothing that would lead people to believe he can be in the same category.
The Big 12 will likely be down next year so the time for a Texas resurgence would be 2012, but there are more issues than just quarterback. Most of the playmakers on defense—Keenan Robinson, Emmanuel Acho, Blake Gideon and Kheeston Randall—are all seniors.
Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat are two great ends and Quandre Diggs could emerge as a great cornerback, but no one else on the defense has shown any playmaking ability. The strength of this team is its defense, and without the aforementioned seniors, this team lacks leadership and talent.
Will Texas improve? Undoubtedly. But there is a huge difference between improving on an 8-5 season and reaching a BCS bowl. Until proven otherwise, the Longhorns don’t appear to be a BCS-caliber team for next season.